Bongiovanni, Leyh score as No. 2 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey outlasts Union 2-1


Aidan Sheedy

Quinnipiac’s 2-1 win over Union on Friday moved them to 22-2-3 on the season.

Milton Woolfenden, Staff Writer

Although the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team didn’t play perfectly in Friday evening’s game against Union, when the horn sounded the Bobcats added another dash in the win column by a score of 2-1.

Both teams established an early physical presence, not afraid to throw the body around. Just under five minutes into the first period Dutchmen captain senior forward Josh Kosack had a two-on-one opportunity, but his shot went right into the chest of freshman goaltender Yaniv Perets. Between their physicality and their offensive zone presence, the Dutchmen showed early on they were better than what their record said. 

“Union definitely was playing with a fire in their belly,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “You can’t just take a team’s record at face value. You have to give maximum effort no matter who you’re facing.”

The teams traded possessions as both tried to get into an early groove. Just before the halfway mark in the period Bobcats captain senior forward Wyatt Bongiovanni fired a slapshot toward the net. However, Dutchmen junior goaltender Connor Murphy flashed the leather and denied the captain. 

Just past the seven-minute mark in the period Perets skated behind the goal to handle a dump and chase shot. After gaining control of the puck Perets stayed behind the goal, allowing the Dutchmen to close in and swarm the net. Out of the mayhem, Kosack got the puck and fired a shot into the wide-open net, past the stick of diving senior forward Michael Lombardi.

The Dutchmen carried their 1-0 lead into the locker room at the first intermission. While both teams had seven shots the Dutchmen held the advantage in faceoffs won (18-13) and blocked shots (6-2).

“We were definitely not firing on all cylinders,” Bobcats junior forward Ethan Leyh said. “I’ll fully admit there were moments throughout the game that I wouldn’t have said we were the No. 2 team in the country.”

Three minutes into the second period Dutchmen junior defender Dylan Anhorn had a massive hit on Bobcats senior forward TJ Friedmann. Following the hit, players came together on the boards and had a “friendly” exchange of words with some shoving taking place as well. All of this happening right in front of the student section. When all was said and done the teams were assessed offsetting roughing minors.

In the dying moments of a Bobcats power play, Bongiovanni snuck a shot past Murphy’s left shoulder while getting an assist from the pipe, and the game was knotted at one apiece. 

A little over halfway into the period Union was on the penalty kill. Even then they controlled the pace of play and forced the Bobcats to the boards, only allowing one shot.

Less than two minutes after Bongiovanni’s goal, Leyh redirected a shot from senior defender Zach Metsa that bounced under the pad of Murphy, giving the Bobcats a 2-1 lead. 

The teams traded possessions for the rest of the period which carried over into the third period with both teams ramping up their physicality.

Just over four minutes into the period Dutchmen sophomore defender Nathan Kelly was on a breakaway, firing a shot from the face-off circle that forced Perets to make a desperation dive and glove the shot. 

While trading possessions Dutchmen sophomore forward Chaz Smedsrud made a wraparound shot that once again forced Perets to show off his gymnastics skills, stretching out and just barely getting enough of the puck to redirect it out of harm’s way. 

“Yaniv definitely kept us in the game,” Bongiovanni said. “I wish I could stick around to see how he develops.”

However, Perets wasn’t the only goaltender having a solid performance. 

After letting Leyh’s goal slip past him Murphy was a wall in net, stopping the next 14 Bobcats shots. Unfortunately, the Dutchmen weren’t able to repay Murphy for his efforts and as the horn sounded, the team added another dash into the loss column, making it 14 on the season.

The Bobcats will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 5, at home vs. RPI. Following that is one more home game vs. Brown on Tuesday, Feb. 8, until the Bobcats begin a four-game road trip.